The role of the hologram for a 3D communication experience

Driven by the pandemic to rethink the rules of work, companies see holograms as an innovative method of digital communication with employees and customers, useful for minimizing travel and especially transport costs.

Holography was invented by the Hungarian-British physicist Dennis Gabor in 1951, for which he won the Nobel Prize two decades later. The technology then had a turning point with the application in the musical field. In 2012 Tupac Shakur appeared as a hologram at the Coachella music festival. This was followed by concerts by Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston.

Holograms are 3D images projected into thin air by lasers, so that you can walk around and see them from all angles.

Holographic communication services are an increasingly sought after product, both in the internal process and in the external process of work. Google and Microsoft are trying to provide this innovation to several companies and among them, DHL, Novartis and IWC Schaffhausen have already applied to bring their business into the market of the future.

Google is also testing a booth with cameras and a glass screen, where users can chat face-to-face with life-size 3D images of each other. Microsoft, in turn, offers holograms displayed through virtual reality headsets.

Nowadays, technology is making its way more and more in headquarters and on stages, for conferences and company presentations. “Holograms have never been in demand for anything other than entertainment until recently,” says David Nussbaum, founder of Portl. “Instead of digitally resurrecting dead artists, I saw holograms as a new way to communicate.”

Port Inc. is the Los Angeles-based company that sells hi-tech boxes for life-height hologram projections. Portl’s images, unlike those of many other companies in the sector, require a box to recreate the illusion of frontal depth. The complete set-up for the individual box is priced at $ 65,000.

Portl has raised about 15 million euros from Silicon Valley investors and in March, plans to release an App that allows you to use a simple smartphone rather than all your studio equipment.

 

THE EXAMPLE OF COLUMBIA SHIPMANAGEMENT LTD

Columbia Shipmanagement Ltd. is an international organization for global shipping. Mark O’Neil is the Chief Executive Officer and every year he makes at least a dozen trips to meet the more than 17,000 crews of his fleet, made up of more than 400 boats.

Hence the decision to envisage the use of new forms of technology to communicate more quickly with collaborators and partners around the world and to offer them a more immersive experience than the usual video calls. Hence the contact with Portl.

In January, for the first time he appeared at a conference in Manila, through a holographic representation in three dimensions, while he was comfortably in his headquarters in Cyprus.

O’Neil attended the meeting with a full-size hologram reproduced inside the innovative box, from which he could interact with the public through special screens.

 

THE PROBLEMS OF HOLOGRAPHIC TECHNOLOGY

There are several issues to be addressed in this regard. First, full-size holograms require a heavier amount of data than current networks are capable of supporting. Furthermore, the purchase and use prices of these technologies are still too high for widespread diffusion in all market sectors.